December 21, 2009
Geospatial Summary 2009
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Susan Smith - Managing Editor

by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
Each GIS Weekly Review delivers to its readers news concerning the latest developments in the GIS industry, GIS product and company news, featured downloads, customer wins, and coming events, along with a selection of other articles that we feel you might find interesting. Brought to you by If we miss a story or subject that you feel deserves to be included, or you just want to suggest a future topic, please contact us! Questions? Feedback? Click here. Thank you!

TeleAtlas, a subsidiary of TomTom NV, has announced their first map database that contains new and adjusted roads based on map user feedback. Previous announcements of the database were primarily focused on updating attribution on streets which improved street names and information about them. The new Tele Atlas MultiNet 2009.02 uses GPS measurements to change the geometry of the TeleAtlas database. The essence of the release it that it has a huge number of road geometry changes as opposed to just attribution on street changes. The GPS measurements provide a much more accurate depiction of what the streets are.

NAVTEQ featured the Mobile Millennium pilot in 2008, which included NAVTEQ Traffic and employed data gathered from GPS enabled Nokia phones. This technology increases the quantity and quality of traffic information beyond what is available commercially, and includes side streets and rural areas that consumers frequent. NAVTEQ calls their technology traffic “probe data programs.” The data provided not only extends the availability of road data, it extends coverage for roads and times of day that consumers want to know about. Technological advances will keep consumers up to date with efficiencies and offer privacy protection for mobile phone users.

Google moved into the GPS turn-by-turn navigation market for mobile phones, with its announcement that it will offer a free service for the new Motorola Droid called Google Maps for Mobile. Google will offer this service to more phones soon.

This announcement is profound for a number of reasons:

1) it picks up where standalone GPS devices and the subscription services offered by cellphone carriers are lagging, actually punches them in the gut by offering consumers a free service with which they cannot compete;

2) the announcement also signals a broader shift toward consolidation in the gadget world, according to The New York Times;

3) mapping data becomes an ever increasingly important piece in the entire navigation/location arena.

Prior to this announcement, Google had begun to create its own digital maps of the U.S., ending a contract with map data provider TeleAtlas. It was unforeseen by most in this industry that this would happen; we were accustomed to the sparring of TeleAtlas and NAVTEQ over the mapping data market, but did not think that space left any room for competitors. It is, after all, time consuming and expensive to gather this type of extensive data.

Virtual Websites

Furthering the democratization of geospatial are virtual websites developed for government and communities, alerting them to activities going on in their areas.

A site that embodies much new technology such as cloud computing and 3D visualization, employing Google Earth, ArcGIS, MapInfo, Global Mapper, SQL, Oracle Spatial, WMS, GeoRSS, RESTful services, html, KML and more is Virtual Alabama. Virtual Alabama was created in 2005, yet it has become a pilot for government sites and is actively participating in a Regional Operational Pilot Platform for information sharing sponsored by the U.S. DHS S&T. The next phase will be a pilot for the Pacific Northwest with five states of FEMA Region X plus Montana participating.


According to program manager Chris Johnson, currently, Virtual Alabama provides access to a government audience only. “We are developing the concept to provide public access information as needed. Aside from that, I believe the greatest contribution to our success is that Virtual Alabama has provided the right mix of tools and capabilities free to the government end user which allows them to collaborate and share information in a secure, non-threatening manner. Collaboration on this scale affords Virtual Alabama a very robust set of geospatial data that is continually repurposed through the end user community for their operational needs.”

Virtual Alabama experienced over 43% growth in the past 12 months with no slow down in sight, said Johnson.

Social networking – Another piece of the democratization of geospatial is the addition of geospatial capabilities within social networking sites such as Twitter. Location awareness has come to Twitter - with geospatial information on Twitter able to inform shoppers of what stores have what bargains, and where they’re located, and where parking is available close to stores you may want to frequent. This has all come about just in time for the holiday shopping season.

Sustainability and Stimulus Funding – Sustainability is an area that is being covered a great deal in the built environment, and Stimulus funding is earmarked for geospatial research as well.

The economic stimulus bill, H.R. 1, the "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009," became Public Law 111-5 with President Barack Obama's signature on Tuesday, February 17, 2009. According to an analysis conducted by MAPPS, the association of private firms in the remote sensing, spatial data and geographic information systems fields in the United States, the bill includes more than $73 billion in programs that will require geospatial data, technology, services and applications in at least 24 Federal agencies.

MAPPS executive director John Palatiello, said they have conducted an analysis of the entire stimulus bill and identified programs that would create a demand for some type of geospatial activity “whether it’s data products, services or applications,” he said. There are over $73 billion in programs that will require geospatial – “not necessarily all dollars that will go to geospatial but all dollars that we can readily identify will require some geospatial application.”

According to the press release, the MAPPS summary, compiled by John Byrd, the association's government affairs manager, includes bill language, itemized funding amounts and accompanying conference report language specifying Federal agency programs and spending in the stimulus bill. MAPPS members can access the report on the MAPPS website. which is the site of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) stimulus reports information on how much money has been allocated to various states, and how many jobs have been generated or saved. It does not seem to have a breakdown of what industry technologies are needed to fulfill the jobs or how much will be spent on them.

It shows a breakdown by state, top recipients, and top federal funding agencies. 74 percent of government data is location-based, according to the U.S. Office of Management and Budget’s Federal Enterprise Architecture framework. State and local figures are higher than that, closer to 80 percent.

Stimulus funding is the tail wagging the dog; where the money will be spent is where the industry will likely head in the future.

Top News of the Week

ERDAS announces new releases of two of the industry’s leading geospatial desktop authoring solutions: ERDAS IMAGINE and ERDAS ER Mapper 2010. This release also includes IMAGINE Feature Interoperability, a new ERDAS IMAGINE module, and IMAGINE SAR Interferometry, a new collection of products in the IMAGINE Radar Mapping Suite.

ERDAS IMAGINE is available in three tiers: IMAGINE Essentials, IMAGINE Advantage and IMAGINE Professional. This release also includes joint licensing between IMAGINE Professional and ERDAS ER Mapper, providing both products when either is purchased. This allows users of either product to utilize the powerful tools in both solutions simultaneously.

SuperGeo Technologies is pleased to announce the release of SuperGIS DataRectifier 3. SuperGIS DataRectifier 3 is a set of data rectification tool for vector and raster layers. Like SuperGIS DataManager 3 and SuperGIS DataConvertor 3, SuperGIS DataRectifier 3 is the application of SuperGIS 3 products. Once you install any SuperGIS 3 series product, you can use the data rectification tool.

SuperGeo recently donated SuperGIS software and map data to Taiwan Environmental Information Association (TEIA). Established in 2001, TEIA is a non-profit NGO in Taiwan. The mission of the organization is to build the path to a world where human beings can live with the Nature harmoniously.

Having been devoted to the environmental protection since the establishment, TEIA organizes many events and activities in promoting environmental information. Among these events, one specific conference sponsored by SuperGeo with its SuperGIS software gathered the faculties from community colleges to discuss the issues of water control and regulation by means of GIS and spatial technologies.

Acquisitions, Agreements, Alliances

PCI Geomatics is pleased to announce that it has signed an agreement with
Rolta India Limited . This agreement, which includes source code, will enable Rolta to develop cutting-edge Earth Science Solutions by using the most advanced geo-imaging and photogrammetry capabilities available on the market and authorizes Rolta to market these solutions throughout the world.

You can find the full GISCafe event calendar here.

To read more news, click here.

-- Susan Smith, Managing Editor.

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